A blog named BETTY

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A plaque would've been sufficient, thanks...

Hubby received this email today:
Good afternoon (Erin's Hubby),

I would like to congratulate you and SiteCheck Inspections, Inc. on your approval for membership in the AAMGA as a Business Services Member. Your application was reviewed at the last Board of Directors meeting. You will receive a more formal package of information, a plague, and a dues bill in the coming weeks. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions. Again, welcome to the AAMGA.

Best regards,
(Woman who would surely prefer to be anonymous)
And this was his response:
Thank you (Woman who would surely prefer to be anonymous),

I’m excited to be joining the association. I’m not crazy about the whole “plague” thing, but I’m looking forward to participating with the other members.

(Erin's Hubby)

That made me laugh so hard! Just another example of why we should never get too complacent with spell check!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The dance of the dishes

Don't you hate it when you have to force someone NOT to do your dishes? I know...we should all have such problems. This person which I'm trying to keep out of my kitchen is my mother-in-law, Dixie. She is here visiting for a few days (visiting from South Sandy...five minutes away). If you recall, her memory and reasoning have become, well, unreliable, so it's always an adventure. When she's here, she truly wants to help out, and I really do admire her for that. (Heck, it's one of my favorite qualities in people. You want to help ME out? You're my favorite person!) But last time she snuck in and did our dishes, she put Comet (aka scouring powder) in the dishwasher instead of dw detergent. It took a lot of scrubbing to get the white toxic film off of every single dish. Even in her 'younger' years (early 80's), she was famous for just rinsing dishes off with water and putting them back in the cabinet.

And so you see how this is one of those situations where 'help' causes more work, not to mention undue mental anguish. (You never forget the first time you pull a slimy spoon out of your silverware drawer and then realize your children have been doing the same all day...and then eating off of it. Ewwww.)

Add to this drama the memory loss--oh, and the near-deafness--and things get really exciting. It starts in the morning. I'll hear her puttering around in the kitchen, so I'll go down there and ever-so-kindly yell at her that she doesn't need to do the dishes. She gets pretty fired up when I tell her she can't help. So then I have to make up excuses, most of which she won't accept (especially the "that's the kids' responsibility" one, because she doesn't believe in children having chores). Finally, I tell her that I'm not feeling well, I need to rest, and the dishes are too loud. She very grudgingly will accept that one after a few minutes of arguing. She sits down, I go lie down upstairs.

15 minutes later, I hear here in the kitchen again. I go down there, corner her, and ask "DID YOU REMEMBER YOU PROMISED ME YOU WOULDN'T DO THOSE DISHES?" Then there's the ten minutes of re-convincing her to go sit down.

Repeat every 15 minutes. One time she said "No, what I promised you is that I wouldn't do the dishes if *I* wasn't feeling well." Ummm...no. Not how it went.

I pleaded with Hubby to please keep her busy so I could take a nap yesterday. I came down a half-hour later, and she had the whole dishwasher loaded. So I herded her out and started re-doing it all. Honestly--I'm not that picky about how such things are done, but when 5 things are blocking the water from ever entering the dishwasher, I have to intervene.

Hubby suggested to me that maybe I was being too protective of my kitchen. Ten minutes later I went in and told him that I'd told his mom she could go clean his office. He pretended like that was no big deal...wouldn't bother him at all...and then he rushed out of the room to find her. Yeah. We're all super laid-back here.

Just so you know that I'm not completely heartless, I *do* let her fold clothes. Piles and piles of them. I lock her in a cold room and tell her she can't come out until every single sock in our house is mated. I've never seen her happier.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let the Good Times Spin

I have crystals in my ear. Don't be jealous--it's not a good thing. (Diamonds in my ear would be something to envy.)It's not a terribly bad thing, either, except that it's made me have horrible vertigo for a month. But only when I move my head quickly.

I found out about the crystals when I went to an ENT yesterday. He says it's fairly common. You're supposed to have liquid in your ear to help tell your brain when you're moving. Sometimes you get some crystalization in there, and those crystals tell your brain: "We're falling!! Quick, make the world spin until we want to throw up!!" Crystals are not my friend.

This particular ENT has a specialty in treating crystals, and, well, it's rather bizarre. It involved turning me on my side, back and forth (soooo not fun), and then finally pounding on the offensive side of my head to dislodge those little buggers. He's had great success with making the crystals take up residence in safer places in the ear, and VIOLA! the vertigo is gone.

Enter Erin Black, who has to be the exception to every medical rule. Sigh. I am so dizzy today I cannot walk a straight line. In other words, I'm worse than ever. Sigh. We're hoping it's just because of all of that spinning me around yesterday. (Doc said he couldn't believe how much my eyes spun. Yay.)

The good news is that he also tested my hearing, and it is perfect. We like perfect. This allows me to hear every peep my off-track girls make while I'm propped up in bed watching the room spin. Good times.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fondant is French for 'Torture Your Mother'

Shnookie2 LOVES to bake cakes. Unfortunately I LOVE to eat cake. You can see the problem. HOWEVER, this post is not about me (as if that is possible). Hand in hand with the joy of baking for her is the joy of decorating said cakes. Do I dare say she gets a wee bit obsessed with the cake baking slash decorating? Yes, I think I do. When she gets ahold of fondant (for which she gladly spends her own money), she cannot rest until it is shaped and smoothed over some confection of her own creation.

When she was in California over Christmas break, it seems that she couldn't get to a store to buy fondant, so she looked it up on the internet and learned how to MAKE IT HERSELF. That surprised even me. And, wouldn't you know it, HER fondant turns out tastier and easier to use than store-bought fondant.

So, after she got home from Cali and had re-connected with all the important players in her life, the next order of business was to show her new-found cake skills. And here is what she presented to us:

Pretty impressive, eh? And pretty dang tasty, I might add.

And the next post will be about the extra 10 pounds I've mysteriously gained.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The kitchen who will be blue

If you've ever seen my house, you know that I've done a lot of painting in my day (the kind with a roller on the wall--not the kind with a fine brush which requires talent!). You also would know that I'm not afraid of color. Well, all that has changed. I have met my arch enemy of color: GREY. It has me hiding in a corner, sucking my thumb.

I feel I must clarify. First of all, I'm not afraid of the color grey in general. In fact, it is my latest color obsession. But trying to PAINT a room grey is freaking me out--more specifically, painting my KITCHEN grey. Evidently, that room wants to be one color and one color only: BLUE.

If you've painted with me, first of all: SORRY, and second, you know that I have a system to make sure the color in my head and the color of the finished wall is an exact match. First, I gather all the possible color swatches from as many stores as possible; then I will cut out my favorites from the swatches and tape them on the wall in a row. I live with that for a few days, periodically ripping off the losers and throwing them away. When I'm sure of which color succeeds in every possible lighting situation, I go to the paint store and mix up a quart of it--just a quart. Then I come home and paint a square on the wall, scrutinizing it for at least 24 hours. I will repeat this process as many times as it takes, because compromise on color will DRIVE ME CRAZY everyday for the rest of my life. IF I like the color, then--and only then--will I commit to an entire gallon.

Because of this process, I have PILES of paint cans in my garage. You could paint an entire house with the paint I have out there; that is, if you don't mind several colors on every wall, because most of those cans are quart-sized rejects. (Imagine what that does to their little paint can psyches, knowing they didn't make the cut. Sad.)

So, back to my kitchen. First of all--and sit down for this--we decided to HIRE someone to paint a few rooms for us. Amazingly, I was more than okay with that, although it is a little hard to admit. I have a rep to uphold, afterall. Anyway, they painted, but I still had to do the paint-picking-process (PPP). Unfortunately, these paint dudes didn't want to hang around while I enacted my 10-day system for every room. So I was under some pressure.

Here's what happened: I bought quart after quart of yummy greys, and each one, the second they hit the wall, turned blue. And then they'd dry even bluer. And my face would get redder and redder and steam would come out of my ears. Back to Sherwin Williams I'd go, which happens to be the farthest paint store from us but also the only one with good low VOC paint. And the workers wait. After buying a few quarts, I got tired of the long trip, so I started buying gallons (to avoid coming back for more when I got it right). Same thing...blue. Me red. Workers suggesting I just pick up an move, because this kitchen does NOT want to be grey.

I took a picture of the tester wall. The one we finally picked is outlined in blue.

I know, the one we chose looks blue, too. However, on the wall across the room, it looked very tan:

Can you believe that's the same color? I didn't want tan any more than I wanted blue, but I figured that surely it would end up looking somewhere in between (i.e., grey) by the time it covered the whole room.

And...it does. Behold the end product:

Actually, I'm not sure this is the end product. It's actually much lighter than my 'vision,' and I want to repaint it. HOWEVER, Hubby has put the kabash on anymore projects for awhile. (secretly glad...don't tell him) So I'll live with it and see if it grows on me. (yeah, right)

In the meantime, you can find me on the corner, trying to unload cans of grey paint onto unsuspecting victims.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Don't you wish your rug was hot like mine

There is light at the end of our remodel tunnel! Unfortunately, *I* am the one who has to get us almost all of the rest of the way. The worker guys are pretty much done, and now I have to put everything back together, re-hang pics, dig through boxes, etc. Hmmm, sounds like moving.

Thankfully, most of the basement is put back together, and it looks great! A lot of people have a hard time picturing what cork floors look like (I think they expect to see push-pin sticking out all over. hee), so I'm posting a couple pics of it. First, the close-up:

It feels like wood but has this ever so slight cushioning effect. Yummy! And you can see it in the next photo too. But first, I must share the story. A friend of my family owns a local well-known interior design business, which is where we went for our flooring. Then came the delays in shipping because of this, that, and the other, all the fault of wood suppliers. So our friend calls me to apologize (even tho we weren't mad or anything) and says she wants us to come and pick out an area rug from their design showroom--she wants us to have it for free so we won't have bad memories when we look at our floors! Wow, it's scary how happy that made me! I go to the show room, start going through these AMAZING 100% Wool plush area rugs that start at $1000, and I find the rug of my dreams. And now it sits in my basement family room! Did I mention FREE?

It's hard to tell in the photo, but it's got all these different textures and pile heights.

And it works--I have absolutely no bad memories when I look at this rug. In fact, I tingle from head to foot. Come by some time, take your shoes off, and walk on it. You might not get tingles (afterall, it's not YOU who got it for FREE), but your feet will be happy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Thanks to a warm front...

Before Christmas 2008 totally retreats into the annals of time, let us bask in the twinkling lights of Salt Lake City's Temple Square. This is a local Christmas tradition that we have missed for the past four or so years, mostly because it involves five things I hate: cold, crowds, cold, impossible parking, and COLD. Thankfully, we've had a veritable heat wave since Christmas, and it's been hugging 40 degrees most every day. That eliminates...let's see...THREE...of the five things I hate; therefore, we ventured off to the big city of lights on Monday night.

It was beautiful, and such a great experience to take the new camera for a spin. Granted, I still have no idea how to use it, but I felt pretty cool walking around with it hanging around my neck. (I told Hubby that unless I sit down and learn how to use it soon, it's pretty much just a necklace...and a purse, cuz the camera bag is way cool.)

So don't expect much, but here's a few shots of the night:

And one in the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which blows me away every time I go in there: